By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Psycho Bunny became the first polo team to win three consecutive Grand Champions Cup titles Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
In front of a packed house and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Psycho Bunny dominated most of the championship for a 14-11 victory over Blackdove in the spring season-opener.
Legendary former 10-goaler Piki Alberdi of Psycho Bunny was named Most Valuable Player.
“I am very happy with this team,” Alberdi said. “We played well. We started a little bit slow in the first chukker and then we took control of the game. We had a lot of fun with nice horses at a nice place.”
It was the first time Alberdi, Andrew Seibert, Brandon Phillips and Kris Kampsen competed on the same team. The chemistry didn’t take long to develop in the opening chukker.
“This is a chance for me to play with Kris, who is a good friend of mine and chance to come out here and support Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) and Grand Champions which is very important to me,” Seibert said.
“The timing is always perfect this time of the year with great weather and the U.S. Open,” Seibert said. “It makes it a lot of fun.”
Psycho Bunny (Andrew Seibert, 0, Kris Kampsen, 6, Piki Alberdi, 7, Brandon Phillips, 5) trailed, 3-2 and 5-4, after two close chukkers but shut down Blackdove, 4-0, and took an 8-5 halftime lead behind Seibert and Alberdi.
Psycho Bunny dominated the second half and never trailed, leading Blackdove (Sebastian Schneberger,1, Tito Gaudenzi, 2, Miguel Novillo Astrada, 9, Carlitos Gracida, 4) by as many as six goals (12-6, 13-7, 14-8) in the fifth and sixth chukkers.
“I didn’t expect us to jump out like that, I was actually nervous,” Seibert said. “They are a good team. The team they beat to get into the final gave us a lot of trouble last year in the final. I thought it would be a little tricky for us, but I think we played really well and clicked really well in the first game. We supported one another which was good. The way we played allowed me to roam up front which is better for me to worry about offense and play to my strengths.”
Siebert has been playing polo for seven years. Psycho Bunny is a clothing company Seibert works with out of New York. Kampsen is the brand ambassador for the company.
Seibert grew up in Central Florida and drove to Wellington on the weekends to watch polo. He got hooked on the sport and started playing. Kampsen, a longtime friend, is one of the players he first played with. Seibert hopes to return for at least one more tournament.
Phillips, one of Canada’s top players, was outstanding on offense, breaking free on lightning-quick horses for a game-high seven goals. Seibert had three goals. Alberdi and Kampsen each had two goals.
“It was a lot of fun, this is the first time I got a chance to play with all of them,” Phillips said. “I’ve played with Kris a bunch but not Andrew or Piki. I didn’t expect to jump on them, but it just fell into place quickly. It was nice. The key was hitting the ball and using our horses.”
Kris Kampsen of Psycho Bunny tries to keep the ball away from defender Carlitos Gracida of Blackdove. Photo by Heather Milne
“It’s great, they are two of my best friends in the world,” Kampsen said. “This is my first time playing ever with Piki and I had a blast. It was so much fun.
“This team had such great chemistry,” Kampsen said. “There is a reason Piki was 10 goals. He is just easy to play with, plays off of you and tells you where to go and what he wants and needs. As long as you listen, he is so easy to play with. This is a great way to start the season, three-peat!
In the subsidiary game, Power Horse (Walter Scherb, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 5, Leo Mandelbaum, 3) defeated Clearwater Polo (Chip Campbell, 2, Gonzalo Teves, 4, Gonzalito Pieres, 9, Juan Olivera, 2), 11-10, behind Bollini’s winning goal.
Scherb scored a game-high four goals. Bollini added three for Power Horse. Pieres and Olivera each had three. Olivera was named Most Valuable Player.
The Grand Champions Cup was the first of eight medium-goal tournaments scheduled for the spring season at Grand Champions.
Other tournaments are: April 23-26 USPA Spring Challenge, April 30-May 3, USPA Sun Cup, May 7-10, USPA Eastern Challenge, May 14-17, Polo Gear Challenge Cup, May 21-25, The Memorial, May 24-25 USPA NYTS and May 28-31, Santa Rita Memorial.
Grand Champions will also host a ProKidz Tournament that features a pro player competing alongside three junior players.
For the second year in a row, one of the biggest highlights of the spring season is the use of state-of-the-art technology featuring live streaming, instant replay, challenges and team review from ChukkerTV.
In January, 2014, Grand Champions Polo Club became the first polo club worldwide to offer instant replay and team review much to the delight of players and patrons in hopes of improving officiating and quality of play at all levels of polo.
During the Grand Champions’ spring season, amateur polo players will have the opportunity to play with and against some of the world’s top pros.
Grand Champions, with its five well-manicured fields and turnkey facility, expects to have its finest spring season in the history of the club which opened in 2008. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the games. Admission is free.
Those interested in playing should contact Grand Champions polo manager Juan Olivera at 561-644-5050 or juan.olivera @gcpoloclub.com.
2015 POLO ON DEMAND
Grand Champions Polo Club, featuring five world-class fields, has a full schedule of tournaments from January to May. Let our polo experts create a turn-key experience including top pros to bring out the best in you and your team. Lessons are available.
2015 SPRING SCHEDULE
April 23-26, USPA Spring Challenge; April 30-May 3, USPA Sun Cup; May 7-10, USPA Eastern Challenge; May 14-17, Polo Gear Challenge Cup; May 21-25, The Memorial; May 24-25, USPA NYTS; May 28-31, Santa Rita Memorial.